Expect to be Surprised and Delighted


“I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny,
but we can have lots of fun that is funny.”

~ Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat

Woohoo! Ready for Sun, Sand and Surf…

One winter several years ago, my partner and I took a fabulously fun road trip from Calgary (Alberta, Canada) all the way down to Los Angeles, California. The Greater Los Angeles area is such an exciting place to explore—there are oodles of interesting things to see, tons of great food to sample and a myriad of beautiful sights to take in. We only had a few days to explore and one thing high on our list was to spend an afternoon at one of the many magnificent beaches.


One Rainy Day in California…

But things don’t always go as planned—on the morning of our scheduled beach day we awoke to unseasonably cold temperatures, a low steely grey cloud ceiling and torrential rains. Our beach day was heavily rained out. We ended up taking cover at the Aquarium of the Pacific at Long Beach, California. And there, we spent an unexpectedly delightful afternoon.

The aquatic life dazzled us, all of it outrageously adorned and brilliantly coloured, like dancing flowers in a luminescent underwater garden. Mesmerized, we lost all sense of time, absorbed in a vivid, colourful, dancing water world. Exotic sea life happily paraded by, a fish fashion show, each species proudly displaying the most interesting features, colours, and shapes and showing off all manner of propulsion.

We moved slowly and deliberately through each display, taking time to read all the information, fascinated by all sorts of interesting facts about all the different aquatic plants and animals. One of our favourite little sea critters is the seahorse and it shocked us to discover that it is the male seahorse and not the female who becomes pregnant—the male Spotted Seahorse gives birth to up to 1800 fully formed and fully independent but very tiny baby seahorses!


127792fStay Open: Fun Can Come Through All Sorts of Avenues

When things don’t go as I want, I always like to remind myself of my overriding intention—the underlying reason why I wanted that thing in the first place. For example,  we wanted to go to the beach to have fun, to enjoy an ocean experience, to take in something visually beautiful, and for the thrill of exploring someplace new. And we did all of those things at the aquarium, just not quite in the way either of us had been expecting. And, really, don’t we want anything we want simply because we think it will bring us pleasure or make us feel good in some way? So what does it matter how that comes about? Isn’t the point to have a wonderful moment in time? For me, any time spent doing anything that brings pleasure and satisfaction in some way is always time well spent.

That afternoon, we found a whole lot of pleasure, a whole lot of delight and a whole lot of wonder and beauty. Zoos and aquariums are not generally high on our list of things to do. But for several reasons, it is where we found ourselves that afternoon. And we were happy to be there. And we were glad that it rained that day.



Sun, Sand and Surf…

Interestingly, we also did get to have our day at the beach—and it too was completely unplanned. The day we left the coast to turn inland for the deserts of Arizona, a sunny, beautiful, warm blue sky day, we made a spontaneous stop at Huntington Beach, California. Once there, our short unplanned stop turned into several glorious hours enjoying the beach: we strolled for a long way on the deserted beach, sat on the warm white sand, deeply inhaled the fresh salt air, looked for seashells and sea-worn beach pebbles, watched diamonds of light dance on the water and surrendered to the hypnotic lull and rhythm of the waves. We marveled at the beauty and grace of the gulls soaring on the wind currents. We ambled all the way down to the end of the long pier to Ruby’s Diner, saying hello to the locals fishing off the pier along the way. We got a premium booth at Ruby’s with a stunning ocean view and savoured a delicious lunch. On the walk back down the pier after lunch, we lingered, spending a long time watching and photographing the surfers at play in the surf. It was a sublime morning—one of those experiences where time seemed to stretch itself out, moving so deliciously slow that the hours we spent there felt like days. It was a fulfilling, almost surreal experience. We left California totally high on life.



Hang Loose and Ride the Wave:
Let Life Surprise and Delight You

The next time it rains on your plans, take the hit, but then, as quickly as you can, focus on the essence of why you wanted what you wanted. Stay positive and believe that the core of what you want can somehow come to you. Don’t try to make anything happen, just relax and let life deliver it to you. It may come in the exact form you’d planned, but at a different time, or it may be delivered in a new, surprising and equally satisfying way. Either way, you’ll be extra delighted when it does come along!

Keep your eyes peeled for fun, wonder and delight and it will surely find you, wherever you are.


Image Credits:

All photographs by madlyinlovewithlife, © 2009 madlyinlovewithlife

4 thoughts on “Expect to be Surprised and Delighted

  1. A fantastic series of shots and story Jeannie..Your wonderful trip makes me want to go there right NOW!! :)) .I hope when the seed is all in the ground (whenever that happens) to get back to Jasper again! Maligne lake is the most spectacular sight this time of year..Have a great SUNday and new week…..Sam..

  2. Jeannie, your photographs as always are masterful. Loved the surfer shot.

    My kids and I lived smack dab in between the Aquarium and Huntington Beach. And I may recall the torrential rains you were talking about. But as you wrote, you still had wonderful times with your partner. That’s all that counts.

    • Thank you for your kind comment, Koji. And what a fabulous place you’ve lived with your family. I am quite certain that somehow I must have mistakenly been born under the wrong star: here I am in Calgary, when I believe I was actually meant to live in southern California! Someplace between Long Beach and Huntington Beach sounds like a dream come true to me. :))

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